The roots of multi-culti diversity go back to Herodotus (b. 485 BC), who wrote that “we must respect other people’s customs”.
A few pages later in the same book he enlarged on that thought: “Burying people alive is a Persian custom”, and neither he nor his readers noticed the continuity blooper.
Or perhaps they did notice but didn’t see anything wrong with that particular custom – those were different times after all, when sensitivity wasn’t yet as finely honed as now.
Since then the Greek’s maxim has emulated the US Constitution by acquiring a number of amendments. People have learned that some foreign customs are more worthy of respect than others and treat them accordingly.
For example, the custom of honouring one’s elders is more respectable than that of stoning adulterers or cremating widows alive with their dead husbands. And the ritual of circumcising boys is more readily accepted than the ritual of circumcising girls.
Over the centuries, such discrimination produced a certain dip in the diversity curve. However, having hit a trough, the curve is now again climbing steeply. Blanket respect for other people’s customs is now so widespread that old Herodotus would feel fully vindicated.
However, the Texan rancher Ted Bukowski finds himself in the time warp where it’s still possible to take a dim view of some manifestations of diversity.
When he saw Rajiv Chowdhury, a man of Indian origin, having his wicked way with one of Mr Bukowski’s cows, he reached for his gun. As someone who once called Texas home for 10 years, I happen to know that such a response is a cherished custom in those parts.
But Mr Chowdhury begged him not to shoot, invoking diversity. The cow, he said, was the reincarnation of his dead wife. He had no doubts on that score because Daisy had the same eyes, smell and taste as the late Mrs Chowdhury.
Since I don’t know many women who’d like being compared to livestock, my natural response would have been to rebuke Mr Chowdhury for his distinct lack of chivalry.
Also, even assuming that Daisy indeed was Mrs Chowdhury reincarnated, perhaps it was ill-advised to mount her in the middle of somebody else’s field in the owner’s full view. I wouldn’t dream of doing that to my wife, and nor would she treat such an attempt with anything other than contempt.
Yet you can see that, although generally negative, my response would be muted and measured. That’s because I’ve dedicated my life to promoting the cause of multi-culti diversity.
Mr Bukowski clearly hasn’t. “I don’t know what those Hindus preach at church,” he said, “but that sure sounds to me like the church of the Devil.”
If he delved into this matter a bit deeper, Mr Bukowski would find that the Hindu place of worship is called a puja, not a church, but that’s a forgivable mistake for a Texan rancher.
But it’s certainly not a mistake Janet Fitzgerald, professor of religious studies at the University of Houston, would make. Commenting on the incident, Prof. Fitzgerald put it in the specific cultural and religious context of Hinduism.
“The man lost his wife last year and possibly was honest when he said he believed the animal was the reincarnation of his dead wife,” she said.
“In Hinduism, sex with animals is not an uncommon theme and many of their deities share half-human, half-animal features,” she explained further.
Had I been present at that interview, I would have remarked that the logical link between bestiality and deities possessing some animal features strikes me as somewhat thin. Gods are there to satisfy our spiritual, not physical, needs, aren’t they?
That would in no way diminish my gratitude for having my knowledge of Hinduism expanded. And not just of Hinduism.
“Certain religions such as Islam also allow sexual intercourse with animals under certain particular conditions,” added Prof. Fitzgerald. “Every situation must be analysed in its proper cultural and religious context.”
Hear, hear, I say. Such situations doubtless include, for example, abducting and raping hundreds of white girls, then running them in prostitution rings.
In our cultural and religious context, that would look like a heinous crime, but to ‘certain religions’ it may be a normal practice, one we must treat with understanding and respect.
As a lifetime champion of diversity, I concur enthusiastically. But I still think Prof. Fitzgerald missed an important point, which brings into question her own commitment to multiculturalism.
Mr Chowdhury wasn’t having “sexual intercourse with animals”. He was having it with his reincarnated wife, who smelled and tasted just like Daisy.
That leaves only one questioned unanswered. How often and how thoroughly does Mr Bukowski wash his cattle?